A court on Wednesday awarded death sentence to a contractual teacher for raping a four-year-old girl in this Madhya Pradesh district nearly three months ago.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Dinesh Kumar Sharma awarded the death penalty to Mahendra Singh Gond, 23, under IPC section 376 AB (rape on woman under 12 years of age) and section 5/6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The girl, who was raped on July 1, is still in a critical condition and undergoing treatment at a Delhi-based hospital.
The court also sentenced the convict to seven years of rigorous imprisonment for kidnapping the girl.
"The court awarded the death penalty to Gond after recording the statements of the girl and her parents over video-conferencing as they are in Delhi," District Prosecution Officer Rampal Singh told PTI.
The judge cross-examined 21 prosecution witnesses.
According to Singh, Gond was friendly with the girl's family. On the night of July 1, he went to their place in a village in an inebriated condition to meet the girl's father. There, he saw the girl sleeping next to her father on a cot outside their house. He returned home after meeting the girl's father.
After some time, Gond came back and spotted the girl alone on the cot as her father had gone to relieve himself, police said.
"Taking advantage of the situation, Gond took the girl away from her house and raped her. After the sexual assault, he dumped her into the bushes," he added.
When the girl's father returned and did not find his daughter, he raised an alarm and the family launched a search for her. Later, they found her lying in the thick bushes.
Gond was later arrested by the police and a charge-sheet was filed against him.
Madhya Pradesh was the first state to enact a law last December, providing for death penalty for rapists of minor girls below 12.
The Centre brought an amendment in the IPC to punish the rapists of minor girls below 12 with death on April 21.